Chiefs vs. Rams: 10 Observations

The Chiefs fell to the Rams, 21-20, on Saturday night in Los Angeles

For the second straight week, the Kansas City Chiefs first-team offense looked pretty good in limited action, but the team ultimately lost under abnormal circumstances.

Here are 10 observations from Saturday night:

  1. Alex Smith played well, again
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This is exactly the kind of performance we wanted to see from Alex Smith.

He completed 9 of 12 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, including converting 4 of 5 third-down opportunities. That's good enough for a passer rating of 139.9.

Smith helped lead the first-team offense to 2 touchdowns and a 17-14 lead late into the second quarter before he gave way to backup quarterback Nick Foles.

  1. Smith and second-year receiver Chris Conley find connection

Just last week, second-year receiver Chris Conley talked about the chemistry and trust he's been building with Smith, and Smith also spoke about the development he's seen this year in Conley.

That all manifested itself on the field on Saturday night, when Conley caught 3 passes for 66 yards, all of which came in the first half.

The best connection between the two came on third-and-2 with Smith and the offense driving into Rams territory early in the second quarter.

When Smith got to the line of scrimmage on that third-down play, he thought the defense wasn't prepared for a pass over the top. He audibled out of the play call and Conley was on the same page. The result was a 37-yard gain to set up Jeremy Maclin's 20-yard touchdown reception, which tied the game at 14 at the time.

  1. Multiple tight end packages displayed early and often

We've spent a lot of time this offseason talking about the multiple tight end packages the Chiefs have at their disposal with the roster as it's currently constructed.

The Chiefs once again showed on Saturday night how dangerous those personnel packages can be this season, and they used a lot of multiple tight end sets early in this game.

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Travis Kelce, Demetrius Harris and Ross Travis spent quite a bit of time on the field together in the first half with Smith under center.

This package will continue to create mismatches that are in favor of Smith and the Chiefs.

  1. First-team defense allows some chunk plays

There were a number of young players on the field for the first-team defense tonight, including rookies D.J. White, Eric Murray, Chris Jones and second-year inside linebacker Justin March.

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There's not one NFL regular-season game played between any of those players, who made up more than one-third of the guys on the field at different times early in this game for the Chiefs defense. Jones worked his way in there, while the other three started from the beginning.

The defense allowed five different plays of at least 10 yards in the first half. There were several opportunities with which guys had to make plays in the backfield but weren't quite able to finish.

It's something they'll undoubtedly address heading into next week's game against the Chicago Bears.

  1. Maclin pulls off a nice double-move, finds the end zone

When someone wants to know what a nice double-move looks like, the 20-yard touchdown reception from Jeremy Maclin in the second quarter would be a good example to use.

After he was done celebrating with his teammates, Maclin wanted the fans to share in the love. 

Maclin finished the game with 3 catches for 48 yards before he was ejected late in the first half due to an altercation with a Rams defensive back.

  1. Dontari Poe hops on fumble

After the Maclin touchdown that tied the game, 14-14, the defense was able to take the ball away from this year's No. 1 overall draft pick, quarterback Jared Goff, on the ensuing possession.

When the ball found its way to the ground, Poe quickly recognized it and secured the ball to give the offense fantastic field position, which led to Cairo Santos' 32-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.

  1. Nick Foles leads 16-play drive
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After taking over for Alex Smith late in the first half, quarterback Nick Foles, who spent all of last season with the Rams and was just released a couple of weeks ago before signing with the Chiefs, orchestrated a 16-play drive that ended with a Cairo Santos 13-yard field goal.

Foles completed 10 of 13 passes for 56 yards on the drive, including a nice fourth-down conversion on a pass to running back Spencer Ware.

Foles showed an ability to throw accurately on the run and handle the offense well enough to manage a 4-minute drive that basically milked the entire clock so that the Rams didn't have an opportunity to respond.

It was a nice display from Foles, which only goes to show his development in this offense after just a couple of weeks. 

  1. Another missed opportunity for a win

Last week against the Seattle Seahawks, it was a Hail Mary. This week, it was a fumble while in scoring position trailing by just one point. The result was the same, and the Chiefs lost two games in abnormal ways to open up the 2016 preseason slate.

With just under 2 minutes to play in the game and facing a second-and-17 from the Rams 18-yard line, quarterback Aaron Murray was unable to hang onto the shotgun pass as it fumbled onto the ground. The ball was secured by the Rams.

At the time, the Chiefs were in field goal position and trailing, 21-20.

With the Chiefs still holding all three of their timeouts, they would get the ball back for one more drive to try and get into field goal range again, but the Murray fourth-down pass intended for Mike Williams fell to the ground and that was it—the Chiefs fell to the Rams, 21-20, for their second straight 1-point loss this preseason.

  1. Darrin Reaves puts together another nice performance
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If there's anything we've learned over the past two years it's that running backs coach Eric Bieniemy will always have his guys ready to play.

That was the case last year with Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware, and that's been the case with Darrin Reaves this preseason.

Last week against the Seahawks, Reaves finished the game with 11 carries for 42 yards, which led the team.

On Saturday night, Reaves finished the game with 6 carries for 32 yards, averaging a team-best 5.3 yards per carry.

Photos from the Chiefs second preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams

  1. Coach Reid returns to his hometown

It was a homecoming for Andy Reid on Saturday night.

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Reid is from Los Angeles and the house he actually grew up in sits less than 10 miles from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He attended John Marshall High School, whereas the guy on the opposite sideline, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, actually went to another Los Angeles area high school, Taft, at the same time.

They never played against one another but they did make the LA Times All-Star team the same year.

Before the game, current players from both of the schools were invited onto the field and got to be a part of the pregame festivities and coin toss.

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